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Calgary receives notice of recall petition for Mayor Jyoti Gondek


PLEASE NOTE: You cannot sign the recall petition online, and must do so in person. For more information, contact Landon Johnston at


Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek has been targeted in a campaign that, if successful, could end her term in office.

The City of Calgary says it received a notice of a recall petition on Jan. 30 that met the terms laid out in the Municipal Government Act.

"The recall legislation allows eligible electors (defined by the Local Authorities Election Act) to file petitions to recall elected officials during the term they are currently serving in that role," the city said in a news release.

"This includes Calgary’s municipal officials (mayor and councillors)."

Now that it has been received, the petitioner – identified online as Landon Johnston – has 60 days, beginning on Feb. 5, to collect enough signatures for the petition.

The city says it must be from at least 40 per cent of Calgary's population or from 514,284 people, as long as they meet the legislated requirements.

“(It) is about 8,500 signatures a day," Johnston said in an interview with CTV News. “It's ridiculous because that’s more than voted in the last election."

Roughly 130,000 more, as it turns out.

Johnston says he launched the effort for two reasons: he’s been upset by spending and tax increases at city hall and a general sense that council isn’t understanding the squeeze felt by so many in the city.

He also says the act of pushing the petition forward highlights the nearly impossible bar set under provincial recall legislation, which Johnston says needs to be changed.

And then there is the message sent to mayor Gondek and council by whatever turnout he’s able to muster.

"At some point she's going to have to look herself in the mirror and say, 'hey, is this worth it? Enough Calgarians don't like what I'm doing and maybe it's time for a change.'"

The mayor declined to speak on camera Monday, but a statement released by her office suggests she isn’t planning on going anywhere.

“In October 2021, Calgarians put their faith in me to be a mayor who could bring balance and stability to this city at a time when polarized ideologies stood to divide us,” the statement reads.

“I remain steadfastly committed to the work of building a future that holds opportunity and prosperity for everyone who lives here. We have work to do. Onward.”

The formal petition effort will cost a lot of money and organization.

Recall efforts are not unheard of, but are successful usually in small centres with few total people to reach. The other path to success is through massive organization, requiring cash, paid staff, lists and other organizational infrastructure.

The city says it's up to Johnston to collect the required signatures.

"All signatures must be original signatures and a recall petition may not be signed in digital form," said city clerk Kate Martin.

"We're going to need canvassers, we're going to need to do rallies, we're going to need everybody on board with this," Johnston said.

He’s working on a website to help organize the effort. The website is expected to go live in the coming days.

While the number of signatures Johnston needs to collect for the petition seems like a tall order, some political experts suggest there could be enough support for it right now.

"Technically speaking, there are 43 per cent of Calgarians who strongly disapprove of this mayor," said Marc Henry with ThinkHQ.

"The threshold of 40 per cent of electors is not unreachable but it is also, logistically, pretty much unreachable."

Landon Johnston has 60 days to gather 514,284 signatures from electors - more than the total number of people who actually voted in the last civic election.

Once the petition is submitted, it will be evaluated over a period of 45 days after which the city clerk will determine if it is sufficient or insufficient.

If sufficient, the city says Gondek would be recalled and would no longer be a member of council or any council committee.

She would then be replaced via by-election, since it's more than a year until the next general election.

If the petition is insufficient, no changes would occur.

"Changes to the recall petition are not permitted after submission. Once a notice of petition has been filed, no further recall petitions in relation to the same member of council will be accepted."

During his interview, Johnston said even if his petition isn't successful, he feels it would draw enough attention to the needs of Calgarians to prompt positive change.

Evan Spencer, Ward 12 councillor, echoes that sentiment.

"The initiation of the recall petition for the Mayor Jyoti Gondek should serve as a call to action for all of council. Message received," he wrote in a statement to CTV News.

"When I ran for office I committed to bringing Ward 12 into the decisions that are being made at city hall, while also listening and responding to the needs of our city and Calgarians. I reaffirm this pledge to be a conduit of information, to be an advocate for our city and those who care for it, to serve all constituents and Calgarians, and to use my experiences to lead us into better conversations."

Spencer hopes it will also mark an end to council infighting that he says has interrupted their work.

"We must do better and I commit to being a part of this change."

Jyoti Gondek adjusts her chain of office after being sworn-in as the new mayor of Calgary in Calgary, Alta., Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

This is the first notice of recall petition submitted to the City of Calgary under the new legislation.

Common Sense Calgary, a group widely opposed to the current mayor and council, issued a statement Tuesday morning saying it does not support the effort, largely because it is almost guaranteed to fail.

The statement said that hands the mayor a public relations victory.

Canada’s most famous recall petition targeted then-BC premier Gordon Campbell, who’s government announced the introduction of a wide-reaching Harmonized Sales Tax just weeks after an election victory in May 2009.

During the campaign, Campbell flatly denied he was considering the HST, later claiming it was the unknown work of a government bureaucrat. Leaked emails also showed plans had been well underway.

The recall petition took about a year, but gathered sufficient signatures in 84 out of 85 ridings in the province.

While the recall failed to trigger a vote in the provincial legislature, the pressure lead Campbell to resign as premier just 18 months into his term.

More information on recall petitions, including how to contact the petitioners of active ones, can be found on the Elections Calgary website.

Johnston says he is working on establishing an actual website for residents who wish to sign his petition. In the meantime, concerned residents can email him at Top Stories

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